Election experts have warned that the ban on using mobile phones at polling stations, police tendency to disrupt the opposition as well as the unpredictable biometric technology could have negative consequences, writes EDWARD SSEKIKA.


As anxiety grips the country ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections tomorrow, several observers have predicted that voter turnout, the conduct of the Electoral Commission [EC] and security situation, among others, will be crucial in determining the outcome.

VOTER TURNOUT CRUCIAL

A win for President Museveni will extend his 30-year rule by another five years, while a victory for opposition will usher in a new chapter in Uganda’s history.

Godber Tumushabe, a policy analyst and associate director at Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (Gliss), believes there are likely to be two outcomes; the genuine outcome and the rigged one. “The vigilance of the voters to ensure rigging and intimidation is minimized will be very crucial,” he argues. “If there is a higher voter turnout, it will probably favour the opposition – mainly Dr Kizza Besigye or Amama Mbabazi.”

In 2011, the voter turnout declined to 59.3 per cent from 69.7 per cent in 2006. Tumushabe is optimistic of a higher turnout given the fact that there is a general agitation for change and many candidates have been able to reach out to the rural population.

EC PHONE BAN UNDER SCRUTINY 

The EC character will be very fundamental.  He argues that if the commission continues to flip-flop and send different signals, it will be dangerous to the credibility of the election. Already, the voting time has been narrowed down to from 7am to 4pm.

Tumushabe argues that EC’s ban in the use of phone at polling stations is unfortunate. “If the commission doesn’t lift the ban, then it is bad enough to affect the credibility and integrity of not only the electoral process but also the results. The ban is silly, but many silly things happen in this country,” he explains.

BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGY UNDER SPOTLIGHT

Peter Walubiri, a renowned constitutional lawyer, says biometric voting is likely to affect the outcome. Though the EC says it takes a matter of seconds for the biometric kit to verify a voter’s features, Walubiri argues that it takes an average of three minutes.

So, if one is to go by Walubiri’s assertion, this would mean that only 20 voters will cast their ballots per hour. This equates to 200 voters in the allotted 10 hours of voting time [7am to 4pm]. In countries, where biometric machines have been used, there have been issues of malfunctioning and delays to verify voters’ features.

Going by the EC records, an average polling station has more than 400 voters.  “The sluggishness in biometric machines means that at the end of the day, only a third of the voters will be able to cast their ballots unless voting is extended,” he said.

“Whoever dreamt of bringing biometric machines here, coupled with a reduction in voting time, is courting disaster. By 11am on the polling day, the EC is likely to receive many complaints and will either abandon the biometric machines or extend voting to the following day,” predicts Walubiri. “The latter will cause more tension.”

He also explains that social media is likely to boost voter turnout, especially among the youth, in case it is not disabled on the day.

STERN TEST FOR LAW ENFORCERS

Dr Sabiti Makara, a senior lecturer in the department of political science and public administration at Makerere University, anticipates dangerous scenarios.

“The behavior of the police and other security agencies is critical. You saw what happened yesterday [Monday], police is partisan and is acting as if the opposition does not exist. Violence can turn off voters,” he said.

Makara further argues that the EC needs to redeem itself. He said that comments from the EC are biased and reinforce a general view that the commission is biased in favour of President Museveni. While appearing on NTV on Monday, EC chairman Badru Kiggundu castigated Besigye’s defiance campaign and justified his arrest on Monday as he tried to campaign in Kampala Central.

“If I had a strong law, I would have refused to nominate Dr Besigye as a candidate because of his defiance massage,” he said. Kiggundu’s statements have left many Ugandans wondering; if he regrets nominating Besigye, how can he announce him as a winner?

Tumushabe concurs, that the EC may lack the courage to announce genuine results. He says many voters have already been disenfranchised. He explains that many voters have been transferred from the polling stations where they registered to new ones without their knowledge.

Therefore, some voters could give up voting. “It is not the first time this is happening and perhaps it explains the lower voter turnout in the 2011 elections,” he said

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Comments

+21 #1 Edo 2016-02-17 09:40
A new age is upon is.

Tomorrow begins the start of our liberation. the end of DICTATORSHIP in our country.

We don't have another country to call home so this is for our generations children.

Make it count. the end of Project Muhoz...
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+19 #2 TTFA 2016-02-17 10:11
Kiggundu is not bothered because he already has the cooked results in his kitchen.

Citizens need to get prepared for Plan B.
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+10 #3 Suleman 2016-02-17 10:33
1- Uganda will never be the same after Thursday, and indeed I think from the lessons of post

-Thursday people in Kiggundu's position will never speak loosely as he has been doing on serious National issue.

I hope the arrogance syndrome of NRA that this country has adopted will end after Thursday. InshaAllah.
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-11 #4 Betty Long Cap 2016-02-17 10:35
With so many presidential candidates, I wonder how Museveni could lose. It would have been better to draw lots for slot of opposition candidate.

Museveni must be laughing in his beer when he should have been shaking in his boots.
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+9 #5 Francis 2016-02-17 10:38
Quoting TTFA:
Kiggundu is not bothered because he already has the cooked results in his kitchen.

Citizens need to get prepared for Plan B.

Count me on this PlanB!!
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-6 #6 GM001 2016-02-17 11:28
Edo & TTFA prepare to be disappointed. You are simply doomsday proppers
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+3 #7 massa 2016-02-17 12:04
Its said that its not the votes that matter but the one that counts the votes.....

This is a call for EC to be impartial at doing what they are supposed too......let the people's voice be heard with distortions.... For God and my country..
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-5 #8 Nakasero 2016-02-17 12:58
ONE DAY TO THE DECIDER!!!DIDA- - ARE YOU READY TO CELEBRATE????

PLEASE GET READY NAPPIES, WET TISSUES AND SHADE FOR THUGS WE WERE FIGHTING OVER THE PAST FOUR-FIVE MONTS!

!MY FOLKS ARE ALL READY HERE WHERE I LIVE- FIREWORKS, TWO GOATS-CHAMPAIGN E, MUSIC- IT IS PITTY YOU CANNOT HEAR OUR NRM WINNIG SONG- NEERA,NEERA, NEERA....BUT YOU CAN BUY IT OR DOWNLOAD ON YOUR COMPUTER!!!

I SUGGEST THAT E V E R Y B O D Y
READS COMMENT IN NEW VISION TODAY WHY YOWERI KAGUTA WILL WIN AGAIN. THE AUTHOR SAID THAT OUR CANDIDATE WAS SO MUCH INVOLVED THAT HE VISITED MANY PLACES, TALKED TO HUGE MASSES OF PEOPLE AND EVEN AT TIMES STOPPED HIS CAR, CAME OUT AND GREETED SOME PEOPLE

HE KNEW! HE PROMISED TO CALL THEM AND HE CALLED THEM AND TALKED TO THEM. HE HAS A BIG HEART AND LOVE AS WELL AS GREAT POLITICAL SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE TO LEAD UGANDA,THAT IS WHY MAJORITY PEOPLE UGANDA LOVE HIM AND SUPPORT HIM, THE AUTHOR SAYS THAT 70% O UGANDANS LIVE IN RURAL AREAS AND THEY MASSIVELY SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT MUSEVENI.HIS PREDICTION IS THAT MUSEVENI WILL WIN AGAIN WITH HUGE MARGIN AND THAT IS WHAT I WAS WRITING AND TELLING EVERYBODY FOR MONTHS NOW AND ALWAYS SINGING OUR VICTORY SONG!!MUSEVENI
OYEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEE!!!! !!!
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-3 #9 Dida 2016-02-17 14:37
Edward what you have written and the reasons you advanced add up to one thing.

Speculation.There is no need to speculate in my opinion.
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-4 #10 Dida 2016-02-17 15:30
Quoting Nakasero:
ONE DAY TO THE DECIDER!!!DIDA-- ARE YOU READY TO CELEBRATE????

PLEASE GET READY NAPPIES, WET TISSUES AND SHADE FOR THUGS WE WERE FIGHTING OVER THE PAST FOUR-FIVE MONTS!

!MY FOLKS ARE ALL READY HERE WHERE I LIVE- FIREWORKS, TWO GOATS-CHAMPAIGNE, MUSIC- IT IS PITTY YOU CANNOT HEAR OUR NRM WINNIG SONG- NEERA,NEERA, NEERA....BUT YOU CAN BUY IT OR DOWNLOAD ON YOUR COMPUTER!!!

I SUGGEST THAT E V E R Y B O D Y
READS COMMENT IN NEW VISION TODAY WHY YOWERI KAGUTA WILL WIN AGAIN. THE AUTHOR SAID THAT OUR CANDIDATE WAS SO MUCH INVOLVED THAT HE VISITED MANY PLACES, TALKED TO HUGE MASSES OF PEOPLE AND EVEN AT TIMES STOPPED HIS CAR, CAME OUT AND GREETED SOME PEOPLE

HE KNEW! HE PROMISED TO CALL THEM AND HE CALLED THEM AND TALKED TO THEM. HE HAS A BIG HEART AND LOVE AS WELL AS GREAT POLITICAL SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE TO LEAD UGANDA,THAT IS WHY MAJORITY PEOPLE UGANDA LOVE HIM AND SUPPORT HIM, THE AUTHOR SAYS THAT 70% O UGANDANS LIVE IN RURAL AREAS AND THEY MASSIVELY SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT MUSEVENI.HIS PREDICTION IS THAT MUSEVENI WILL WIN AGAIN WITH HUGE MARGIN AND THAT IS WHAT I WAS WRITING AND TELLING EVERYBODY FOR MONTHS NOW AND ALWAYS SINGING OUR VICTORY SONG!!MUSEVENI
OYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!


Yeah man hahahaa Afande Nakabasket you are on top.The Decider we have been waiting for is hours away.
God bless you.I wish you a peaceful and a happy one.

Please dont forget moto aliwaka K'la already.I mean be safe so that we can celebrate in one peace LoL.
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-3 #11 Nakasero 2016-02-17 16:29
@Dida! Thanks!! ARE YOU ON YOUR FEEEEET??????NO SLEEPING TONIGHT! WE START CELEBRATING NOW!!!!!OYEEEEE EEEEE!!!!!

NRM IS THE WINNER!!!NRM IS THE WINNER!!!MUSEVE NI OYEEEEEE, MUSEVENI OYEEEEE, MUSEVENI OYEEEE!!!LET US ALL DANCE AND CELEBRATE!!!LIS TEN AN REMEMBER THE VICTORIOUS SONG-- NEEARA, NEERA, NEERA, AND AGAIN, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, MZEI NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, ONE MORE VICTORY FOR YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI!!OYEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EE!!!!!!!!!
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+2 #12 ugthinker 2016-02-17 17:26
vote museveni for another HELLISH five years and possibly more
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+2 #13 sn 2016-02-17 17:41
Any overt attempts to force a wrong result on the people of Uganda might lead to unpredictable consequences.

Only a transparent exercise will redeem all those involved. We need a televised tally showing all raw data from polling stations and progress as different results come in Media houses like NTV, and NBS should have their own independent tallies based on accurate results.

Before any polling station results are added the declaration form should be shown to the public on TV. This is public information.
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+2 #14 Dida 2016-02-17 20:18
Quoting Nakasero:
@Dida! Thanks!! ARE YOU ON YOUR FEEEEET??????NO SLEEPING TONIGHT! WE START CELEBRATING NOW!!!!!OYEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

NRM IS THE WINNER!!!NRM IS THE WINNER!!!MUSEVENI OYEEEEEE, MUSEVENI OYEEEEE, MUSEVENI OYEEEE!!!LET US ALL DANCE AND CELEBRATE!!!LISTEN AN REMEMBER THE VICTORIOUS SONG-- NEEARA, NEERA, NEERA, AND AGAIN, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, MZEI NEERA, NEERA, NEERA, ONE MORE VICTORY FOR YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI!!OYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!


Agande fter all the ballot casting is done and the counting is completed I visualise Badru Kiggundu announcing....a nd the candidate who scored more overall votes is....YKM hihihihi
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+1 #15 Betty Long Cap 2016-02-19 02:03
Troops open fire as Uganda voters protest over fix
Voters protested about pre-ticked voting slips and ten-hour polling station queues The Times UK
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